Friday, March 8, 2013

The Crucible, Arthur Miller, and Communism, part 2

This is a continuation from Part One.            

           The United States was already abreast of Communists working within many levels of government; yet no politician was willing to confront the truth, until Joe McCarthy.  Regardless if he wanted to make a name for himself, he meant to challenge our government for not aggressively removing these Communist sympathizers, party members, and, in some cases, spies, from their positions.  McCarthy never named names, but Congress demanded names.  In the end, the tables turned, and the witch-hunt became about McCarthy.  (Sounds like the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal that became more about Ken Star and Linda Tripp.)

Screenwriters blacklisted: The Hollywood Ten
            When accusations spread, the entertainment industry felt the heat, and many compromised their art to save themselves from branding.  This, Arthur Miller, was not inclined to do.  To him, art and politics were one, and, whether it was freedom of speech or democracy, he would not compromise his ideals even if he lost the opportunity to produce art. 

            Miller was a liberal, definitely a Socialist, and agreed with Marxist ideals.  He did support Communism for some time until he had to admit Communist coercion and regulation of artists and their work.   He and I stand on opposite sides of the political and economic spectrums.

The war against the Second Amendment
            Having said that, I confess that The Crucible impressed me.  It was entirely effective from start to finish, and moved me to anger at times.   I was able to identify Arthur Miller as the significant character of John Proctor.   He was the one who would not name names, and he questioned the fanatical religion of the village and its injudicious religious leader, Reverend Parris. 

            I understand what Miller wants us to know from The Crucible: people trigger paranoia and suspicion on unfounded fear to the point of mass hysteria and unjustified regulation and suppression.  It does happen.  Need I remind us of the current war against legal gun owners in this country?  But no one on the left is crying “witch-hunt.”

Pro-Second Amendment rally in New York
           However, I disagree with Miller regarding the comparison between the witch-hunt of Salem 1692 to the exposure of Communists in America 1950; for the fear of witchcraft is based in ignorance, but the infiltration of Communism is worthy of alarm.  Communism is documented to be responsible for the death of almost 150 million people worldwide from starvation to murder.  Communism is a genuine threat to freedom and liberty.  If one considers it suspicious paranoia to be alarmed, I suggest that he study the Soviet Union under Stalin; China under Mao; or Cambodia under Pol Pot, and then ask himself if there is nothing to be concerned about.

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